Set it and forget it approach won’t work because the mind will reset it
Suppose in our home we have a fire alarm that can be set to go off whenever any danger signs arise. Some devices are advertised as “Set it and forget it – if ever there is any problem, you will be alerted.” However, this approach won’t work if residing in our home is our child who likes to fiddle with gadgets and who may reset the alarm.
A similar issue problematizes the “set and forget” approach when applied to our inner life. When we strive to improve ourselves by making some resolutions, we may think, “Now I have made a resolution. I will live according to it from now onwards.” But when the temptation arises, we feel little of our earlier resolve. This changed emotion is akin to our resolution being reset.
We have an inner child inside us that keeps resetting our resolution. That child is the mind. Underscoring this, the Bhagavad-gita (06.26) uses the describer often used for children, restless (chanchala).
If our child resets the fire alarm, we don’t get shocked or devastated – we just expect it and set the alarm again. Of course, we caution him to not fiddle with the alarm. But we also know that he may need to grow up to learn. So, we exercise greater vigilance in periodically checking the setting.
We need a similar pragmatic approach when dealing with our mind’s resetting of our resolutions. Rather than becoming shocked or disheartened at our failing at our resolutions, we need to expect the mind’s messing the settings and be vigilant to set them right again.
By sustained bhakti practice, we stimulate our child-like mind to grow up. The more it understands the gravity, necessity and consequentiality of our resolutions, the more it cooperates with us in keeping them.
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